Importance of EDUCATION in Islam

Let me open my discussion with what happened in a famous war between Muslims and (kuffars) non-muslims. Muslims stood victorious with the grace of Allah, and almost 70 Kuffars were taken as prisoners of war, let me point your attention to the most influencing decision of Prophet SAW at that time about these POW, Muhammad Arbi said, there is only one condition the prisoners will be freed if they teach at least 10 Muslim children how to read and write. 

The importance of education can be assessed with the first Quranic ayah, the first revelation that was sent to Prophet SAW was about education and knowledge, in the first revelation Allah SWT says, 

“Read. Read in the name of thy Lord who created; [He] created the human being from a blood clot. Read in the name of thy Lord who taught by the pen: [He] taught the human being what he did not know” (Quran, 96: 1-5). This was the ayah that was sent to Muhammad SAW and brought by Jibrael. 

And in Surah Al Bakara Almighty Allah says, “And Allah taught Adam all the names…” (Quran, 2:31)

The word ASMA أسماء(Arabic) mentioned in the above Surah points our attention to all the branches of education whether it is science art or philosophy. All the fields of knowledge are basically the Nouns, the names as mentioned earlier The ASMA in Arabic. 

At another place Quran says. “Are those who have knowledge equal to those who do not have knowledge?!”(Quran, 39:9)

Importance of education and concept of knowledge is further emphasized in the following lines, Prophet SAW famous Ahadees point our attention towards this important aspect of human life in the world.

  • Angels in heaven, fish in the water and ants in their dwellings pray for the well-being of a seeker of knowledge.” (Tirmidhi)
  • “Seeking knowledge is a duty of every Muslim” (Ibn Majah)

AT another place Prophet SAW said,

طلبُ العلمِ فَريضةٌ على كلِ مُسلم   رواه البيهقي

This means: “Seeking the [obligatory] religious knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim.” (Related by al-Bayhaqiyy)

Learning and gathering knowledge is one of the best things among others in one’s life. The best part of the life which spent on learning is the best of all. It will surely save us in the world and in the life hereafter from the hellfire. 

Learning what Allah made obligatory upon us and learning what Allah ordered us to avoid both are equally important. Allah SAW said in the Quran:

يَرْفَعِ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ دَرَجَاتٍ

Ayah 11 of Suratul-Mujadalah means: {Allah raises to higher ranks the believers and those of knowledge.}

The Prophet SAW, said:

مَن يُرد الله بهِ خيراً يفقههُ في الدين رواه البخاري

This means: “The one for whom Allah willed goodness, Allah guides him to become a knowledgeable person in the Religion.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari.)

Interestingly there has been a line drawn by few between Religious knowledge and worldly knowledge, but when we try to ponder on this we find nothing in this regard in religious scriptures or even in the light of Ahadees and the incidents that happened in the life of Muhammad SAW.

Take for example again, The famous war of Badr, non-Muslims were not asked to teach Muslims children the religious and non-religious knowledge. Prophet SAW ordered prisoners of war to teach how to read and write. So how we can say that there is a line between religious teachings and worldly teachings. 

The life of Muhammad SAW is exemplary for us, He (PBUH) was himself the epitome of perfection in every walk of life. To refer to the scientific education and knowledge we can add here a few more Quranic references, one is from the chapter second,

The Quran has specifically talked about science, “In the creation of the heavens and the earth the alternation of the night and the day, in the ships that sail in the sea with their load…. in the rain which Allah sends down from the sky and thus revives the earth after its death; and then He spread in all kinds of animals; in the changing of the winds: in the clouds which have been left suspending between the heaven and the earth -in all these are clear signs for the people who understand” (Quran, 2:164)

It is narrated by Zirr bin Hubaish, “I went to Safwan bin Assal Al Muradi and he said: What brought you here? I said: ‘’I am seeking knowledge. He said: I heard the messenger of Allah say: There is no one who goes out of his house in order to seek knowledge, but the angels lower their wings in approval of his action” (Ibn e Majah, 226)

I believe that there is no need for more words if we cut the long story short that these Ahadees and sayings of Prophet SAW and the Quranic references are great proof of how important education is in Islam and how vital it is to consider knowledge-seeking necessary.